Attractive Nuisances

Are you familiar with the term “attractive nuisances” in the context of insurance, or otherwise? If otherwise, it kind of sounds like the name of a sloppy punk rock band. In the insurance world though, an attractive nuisance is something one might have on their property that looks nice or interesting, or is just a lot of fun, but may bring with it unforeseen problems. Something people – often curious kids – gravitate toward, that could hurt them.

Popular examples are swimming pools or trampolines. A surly Bengal tiger you call “Security.” (We don’t know your life, although this would be another issue altogether that we would need to talk about.) Really it is anything that might attract passersby onto your property potentially leading to a dangerous, claim-inducing situation.

Other examples which tend to be overlooked include:

  • Other small bodies of water, wishing wells or fountains – People are just naturally drawn to water. It seems like it’s in our DNA. As for wells, we’ve all seen the news stories over the years.
  • A construction or remodeling project in progress – just like bodies of water, for some reason people are drawn to a house in progress. Maybe because it’s open and accessible, inviting even. Maybe it’s the reflective quality of a place whose history is yet to be written. Or something else. Either way, if tools aren’t properly stowed away or if the build itself is not particularly stable, you’ve got yourself a great potential nuisance.
  • Playground-type equipment – Grown-ups like to tell kids “that’s not a toy!” when they are drawn to something dangerous. Well, what if it is a toy? Naturally they’ll be drawn to it. So it’s a matter of making sure it is safely put away, or if it is a permanent install in your yard, that (a) it is safe to use, that (b) there is careful supervision when it is being used, and (c) you make it clear to neighborhood kids that it’s not to be used without your permission/supervision.
  • Yard decoration – particularly during the holidays, or maybe during election season for the overzealous constituent, people might have quite elaborate displays on their property. For the holiday displays, people may come for a closer look. Who knows what people will try to do to your campaign signs, depending on what side they’re on. Either way, if it’s big or heavy, and could fall down, it could become a nuisance.
  • Tree house – any attraction which is up a tree is self-explanatory. 
  • Discarded appliances – if you have a large, empty refrigerator or freezer in your yard, even if it is not plugged in, even if it is not frosty-cold inside, a child could become trapped in it if allowed the opportunity.
  • Abandoned cars – same basic principle. If the vehicle’s trunk is open or openable, then there is always the possibility of someone climbing inside and getting stuck.

But that’s just in your yard. Within your own home guns, especially – but really any item which you make a strong point with your children that they should never touch – will naturally and quickly become an extremely attractive item to an inquisitive child. And this curiosity along with an improperly secured “attractive” item, becomes a nuisance, or something much worse.

What they mean for your insurance:

Attractive nuisances are kind of hypothetical situations waiting to happen, in a way. And they are tricky things, because a lot will depend on whether the property-owner did their due diligence to make sure said “nuisance” did not become one. Not everything is under your control, but still may be your “responsibility.” Whether the property-owner “did all they could” is an argument that can be hard to solidify. Sometimes it’s pretty cut and dry. If you’ve got a trampoline with one broken spring with a flashing neon sign affixed to it reading “Please come jump on me!” then it’s a lot simpler.  

If you have something in your home or on your property which may be an attractive nuisance, or you might in the near future, contact your local Horihan Insurance agent soon to go over what it will mean for your insurance. It could alter your coverage drastically. Even if it does, thought, it will likely be much better than the situation you could be in if something happened related to one of those nuisances, if your insurance doesn’t have it on record or does not cover it.

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